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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York


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June 13, 2014

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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Northern Westchester Hospital proposes strategic partnership


Northern Westchester Hospital and North Shore-LIJ hospitals are considering a strategic partnership that could team the two hospitals and have a broad impact on improving patient care, cost effectiveness and technology innovation, say representatives from both hospitals. Northern Westchester Hospital’s president Joel Seligman, along with representatives of North Shore-LIJ, announced the letter of intent of the two entities to enter into exclusive negotiations and begin the due diligence process, with a goal of executing a final agreement later this year.

“We’ve just signed a letter of intent with North Shore-LIJ to enter a period of up to 90 days of exclusive negotiations,” Mr. Seligman said on Monday. “We have an outline of an agreement, but there are still lots of details and there’s lots of due diligence that will take place over the next two or three months.”

At the end of that time, he said, the deal, if approved by the two entities, would then require government approval. If the process were expedited, North Shore-LIJ would become the active parent of Northern Westchester Hospital, legally known as the “sole member,” according to Mr. Seligman.

“One of the things that we really like in this arrangement, this understanding, is that they have a tremendous amount to offer us but they’re not looking to control us,” he said. “They want to have some influence, obviously, but your board of trustees will remain. There will be lots of local input and local control. They have a very high regard for our board and for our leadership team. So we’ve had some very positive assurances that in many ways this is going to remain your Northern Westchester Hospital.”

During the due diligence process, both hospitals will be “examining each other,” he said.

“Everybody studies each other’s financial reports and statements. There will be a review of anything that might be in those statements that could possibly be of concern, either legally or financially. I don’t think anybody will find anything like that. We’ll spend some time on that. Then there’s what one of our board members called ‘social due diligence.’

“We’ve gotten to know these people pretty well, we like them very much,” he said. “There are very many people we haven’t met yet. It’s an opportunity for our board to get to know their board, our leadership team to get to know their leadership team, our medical staff to know some of their leaders and for everybody to feel as positive as they do now.”

Population health management is key

A key element that led to the proposed partnership is the concept of population health management, which stresses “value rather than volume as the economic underpinning of the system,” according to Mr. Seligman.

He described this as a national trend. “Systems made up of hospitals, physicians, other providers such as home care providers, made of many moving parts, are coming together to take responsibility for the health of a population. Each of these systems thinks of providing that care to a million people, 2 million, even 3 million people, and wrapping around that population a whole array of health care, with a lot of emphasis on prevention and wellness.”

North Shore LIJ is one of the leaders in the region in getting ahead of population health management, according to Mr. Seligman, with a medical school, population health management resources and their own insurance company to take responsibility for a large population. “There are very few systems in this area that have really shown this leadership,” he said. “They’re one of the few.”

Providers are focusing on prevention and wellness, said Mr. Seligman. “Systems like this are building urgent care programs, they’re building cardiac wellness programs, things that in the long run are going to make the system more affordable but hopefully keep people healthier. There’s data around the country that demonstrate these things really work.”

The partnership could provide insurance to patients, but it won’t eliminate insurance companies’ roles in the health care process. “They will still enroll patients and make payments to providers,” Mr. Seligman said, “but it takes them out of the role of managing the care, which they don’t do very well and never did. It puts the responsibility for the care back into the hands of other health care providers and hospitals.”

A new model

Mr. Seligman said the structure between North Shore-LIJ is very different than the hospital’s previous partner, Stellaris, which was a consortium of Northern Westchester Hospital and other Westchester hospitals.

“With the changes in the market and the changes in the model of health care in the country, the four Stellaris hospitals came to a different future,” said Mr. Seligman. “It became pretty apparent that we might not want to go there together, which was a sad thing to experience after 15 years of working together, but I think the right answer given how the different boards viewed the future. Once that was coming apart, and it happened pretty quickly, we all knew that being alone in this environment wouldn’t allow us to do what our communities needed us to do, so all four of us started to talk to do these different systems.”

The proposed alliance with North Shore-LIJ would be more strategy driven, with the ability to move faster to create new things, he said. In addition, the merger creates economies of scale that could bring down costs.

“Most of these reductions will come in administrative costs as well as legal areas, risk management, benefits, our own employee benefits,” he said. “We’ll go from being a small player to part of being a major system.”

Northern Westchester Hospital would have access to North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Learning and Innovation, which, according to Mr. Seligman, runs all their leadership development and all their clinical training programs. “We could never have that here,” he said. “We’re going to be part of that. The information technology will be at a level we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. You need to be part of these big systems.”

He said the quality-driven aspect of North Shore-LIJ was a key reason they were chosen over other regional health systems. “There’s a lot of influence they’re going to have and a lot of resources,” he said. “At the end of the end of the day they are the active parent of this hospital. They want this hospital to be a leader in patient-centered care and local leadership to stand in charge of that.”

Shared services

As a part of the larger North Shore-LIJ system, Northern Westchester Hospital could advance more quickly in the modernization of the hospital’s main building, the Wallace Pavilion. “It’s a wonderful building that’s now 44 years old,” said Mr. Seligman. “Our plan has been to do a major modernization. They’re going to help us accelerate that timeline, which is a really nice thing.

“We’ve been modernizing this hospital over the last dozen years; we’re going to get to accelerate this over the next seven years and maybe finish this thing,” he added. “They make it easier to go to the market as well as the donor community. North Shore is going to make sure it continues to happen.”

Other advantages would be the hospital’s ability to approach the marketplace and the donor community, according to Mr. Seligman. “If you’re a bank looking at a $7 billion nonprofit organization with a very positive bottom line, they see a very positive organization rather than a freestanding 200-bed community hospital.”

While shared medical services is not the primary goal of this partnership, there may be some sharing of medical staff. “We are blessed with a very robust medical staff,” said Mr. Seligman. “That’s not a major part of the thought process. There’s not a great need for extra physicians, but there are some niches where we aren’t well covered. There are some hospitals whose main reason for looking for a partnership like this is to fill physician needs. Hopefully, that’s not a big problem in Northern Westchester.”

Looking ahead

“What set North Shore apart, they’ve done a lot of what we wanted to do already. They have a great track record of working with community hospitals and making them better,” said Mr. Seligman. “They’re financially strong, and they really get this change that’s happening toward population health, where we believe the market is going, where the board believes it’s going, and where it should go.”

He said he did not see any significant obstacles to the plan, which was about 18 months in the making. Other hospital groups considered included Yale New Haven Health System, Massachusetts General, Mount Sinai, Montefiore and NYU. “It’s been one of the best processes I’ve ever done.”

Mr. Seligman said a definitive agreement could be signed Sept. 1. It would be submitted to the government — including the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Attorney General — which could give it an expedited review. “And by the end of the year, we’re done.”

“They really understand the quality of what our employees do, that we’re a leader in quality and patient satisfaction,” he said. “They know it’s not about the building and the machinery, it’s about the skills and values of our staff. They get what an incredible asset our staff is in health care, that’s really what they’re acquiring. I think they’re very genuine about it. People sometimes worry what they’re going to do to us . What I think they’re going to do is protect what’s going so well here. I think people will see modernization happening a little faster, a little more expertise in subspecialties, but by and large, people will be experiencing what they have been experiencing here.”

“They love the things we’re committed to,” he said. “They’re interested in taking our best practices back to some of their 17 hospitals. If anything, we’ll get to have a nice little impact on their hospital system.”

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